Your ultimate guide to 10 Arizona debt relief solutions
It’s time to tackle your debt once and for all. Luckily, as a resident of Arizona, you have several options. But which option is best suited for your situation?
Read on as this article will break down top Arizona debt relief solutions. Armed with this information, you can draft a concrete escape plan to break out of the debt prison.
Toward the end, you'll also learn about some of the lesser-known programs that can provide game-changing help for many borrowers.
Do it yourself (DYI) debt relief
For many, a DIY approach is the first place to begin when tackling debt. It’s a method that doesn’t involve professional assistance from debt relief companies.
Some of the most common DIY solutions include:
- Budgeting and expense tracking to make more informed financial decisions by managing your monthly income and expenses
- Debt snowball method: This a popular DIY approach that sees debtors pay off their smallest balances first to build momentum. If you want to learn more about how it works, check out this step-by-step guide to the debt snowball spreadsheet.
- Balance transfers: This involves transferring existing credit card balances to a new card with a lower interest rate
- Negotiating with creditors: Savvy debtors may wish to try their hand at lowering their balance through one-on-one negotiations with their creditors.
The DIY method you select depends largely on your financial health and comfort with an independent approach. Of course, some debtors may prefer to avoid DIY options altogether and opt to leverage professional help instead.
Who should use it? A DIY approach is best for disciplined individuals with manageable debt levels and a steady income.
Also known as credit counseling, debt counseling entails working with certified credit counselors who can assist borrowers looking to get out of debt. Typically, the counselor will help with the following:
- Formulating a budget
- Money management advice
- Educational resources
- In some cases, debt counselors may negotiate with creditors to lower interest rates on your behalf
For many, the primary benefit of debt counseling is the peace of mind it provides when navigating the often complex and intimidating debt relief process.
Who should use it? Debt counseling is best suited for individuals overwhelmed by debt who want a helping hand. It’s an excellent option for people who wish to better understand their financial position and receive professional debt management advice.
Debt settlement is one of the most common debt relief solutions people pursue. The strategy entails a debtor negotiating with creditors to pay less than the total owed.
In some cases, payment of the new, lower amount will be made as a lump sum. In other instances, negotiations lead to a new, lower monthly payment.
While you can do this on your own, debtors often seek the services of a debt settlement company with expertise in the process.
Creditors may agree to a lower amount for two main reasons:
- Debt settlement allows creditors to recoup their money faster, although at lower amount
- It avoids risking the debtor defaulting entirely or declaring bankruptcy. In other words, the creditor chooses to cut their losses.
While debt settlement can be an effective solution, it comes with a cost. In the short term, the process will likely harm your credit score. This is because any account involved will be labeled to credit bureaus as “settled.” For lenders, this designation can be a red flag.
There may also be tax implications. The forgiven portion of the debt is often treated as taxable income. Considering all possible consequences before choosing this debt relief option is essential.
Who should use it? Debt settlement is suitable for individuals facing financial hardship who’ve exhausted other potential avenues, like DIY solutions. It’s best for individuals with unsecured debt (i.e., credit card debt) instead of secured debt (i.e., mortgages).
Debt consolidation is when a debtor merges or combines existing debts into a new single obligation. The new debt balance usually has a lower interest rate, lower monthly payment, or longer repayment period.
Debt consolidation is often done with the help of a bank or credit union. Balance transfer credit cards are one example of consolidation.
Who should use it? It is best for debtors with decent credit scores who possess numerous high-interest debts that they wish to combine to help lower their overall interest rate of monthly payments.
While people in financial distress often use it, it can also be a prudent option for anyone wanting to take advantage of more favorable terms.
When it comes to Arizona debt relief solutions, bankruptcy is often considered the most extreme and final option. While filings have fallen dramatically in Arizona over the past decade-plus, it remains an effective solution for debtors in dire situations.
Bankruptcy is a formal legal process where a borrower seeks relief from some or all of their debts. In essence, it can provide struggling debtors with a fresh financial start.
Of course, like all options, it’s not without a cost.
Of all the solutions listed above, bankruptcy can cause the most harm to your credit. This means you may have a challenging time securing loans in the future. As a result, this option should not be taken lightly. In fact, it’s best to consult a professional before embarking on this path.
Who should use it? Bankruptcy should only be used once all other options have been exhausted.
It’s intended for those borrowers crippled by overwhelming debt and unable to make even timely minimal payments. Often, it’s used by people who have experienced a severe and rapid change in their financial situation, like losing a job or incurring large medical bills.
Little-known Arizona debt relief resources
Arizona residents have diverse resources they can access to help with their debt relief quest. In some cases, the services listed above may be unnecessary if alternative solutions can be secured.
For example, a borrower struggling to cover the cost of pricey drugs following a medical procedure might benefit from a program that offers subsidized health coverage.
Or, a family that can’t afford childcare might find value in a program that helps with the monthly costs.
In short, check to see if any resources on this list can assist your situation.
- Arizona Department of Health Services: Low-income residents of the state can obtain services like unemployment insurance programs.
- Arizona CopperRX Card: This card is free of charge to any Arizonian aged 65 or older. With it, you can obtain discounts on drugs of up to 55%.
- Arizona Cash Assistance Program: This program offers childcare assistance and job preparation resources to residents of Arizona.
- Arizona Department of Economic Security: Struggling seniors can use the services to obtain hearty meals.
- Save Our Home AZ: Provides a monthly mortgage subsidy for underemployed and unemployed Arizonians.